Farfalle Pasta with Spinach and white beans

It’s been a rough week for me. Nothing really big happened, it was just one of those weeks that wears on you and by Friday I was ready to collapse so I was happy to have the afternoon/night to myself.  Thomas was with our friend Trent (who lives way out in Middleburg!) to play golf at his club and as I so often do when Thomas is gone, I played around with a new pasta dish and indulged in a really bad B horror film.

Before I get into the pasta, I do have to share one little thing that happened this week that I am still alternately annoyed and amused by.  My students are working on the big 10th grade research project which brings with it a whole host of issues since I am asking them to do original thinking instead of just regurgitating what they find online (I’m also forcing them to only use academic databases, I’m so mean). So on Wednesday I am reminding the class that when they are creating citations for the database sources, they do not need to put the whole 3 line URL complete with strings of numbers and random symbols–they can just put the basic http://www.whatever.org and be done with it.  This confused one student who raised his hand.  He’s one of those students that I always have to take a deep breath before calling on because I just know something like this is coming:

Student: Okay..  So… When I am citing a book I got from the library, what do I put for the website then? 

Me: …. Well, it’s a book.  They don’t have websites. 

Student: So I just put nothing?? Should I put… 

Me: No. It’s a book.  There won’t even be an option for you to add a website (We are using an online system to create virtual notecards with fill in the blank categories.  This should make things fool proof)

Student: (amidst giggles of students, but still earnest) So just nothing then for the website? 

Me: Yes. (Student is still confused, but at this point I just move on. I’m sure he figured it out eventually.) 


So, needless to say, I was ready for a break come this Friday. I came home and was greeted by the gorgeous rose bush in our front yard–the one that I was scared to prune last fall but did it anyway in one of my attempts to garden. Now  it is much better shaped and bursting with fragrant blooms.  I’m proud.

I didn't kill them!

I didn’t kill them!

I was also greeted by a very large box–a delivery from Bed, Bath and Beyond that consisted of the last of our wedding gifts.  Among them was a really awesome Japanese knife that I treated myself to.  This thing cuts through everything like butter!  Check out the super thin lime slice I was able to cut with it!


Shun Santoku Knife


Then, finally, I got to dinner.  I wanted to recreate a dish I remember from childhood but jazz it up a bit.  The dish was a simple pasta (bow tie) tossed with wilted spinach and white beans. It was delicious and something I often requested as a child. I had no recipe though and an internet search brought up a whole host of variations that never seemed quite right.  So I winged it. I added some bacon, because why not? Arugula for some peppery bite and gave the mixture a shot of champagne vinegar and lemon at the end to add brightness. The whole thing is smoky, creamy and amazingly satisfying.  Here’s my kicked up version of farfalle with spinach and white beans

Ingredients: (makes about 4 servings)

  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan (plus extra for serving)
  • A handful of arugula
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • Farfalle Pasta (make the recommended amount for 4 servings)
  • Champagne vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon plus zest


1. Put pasta water on and cook pasta.

2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet (if you have one with high sides, that is the best).  Once the bacon is crispy, add the spinach, arugula, and garlic.  Turn the heat down on the pan and add a little salt and pepper.



3. When veggies are wilted, add the beans, chicken stock and cheese.  Let cook on low heat until pasta is cooked.

The mixture ready for pasta

The mixture ready for pasta

4. Before draining pasta, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the spinach mixture.  Then drain pasta and add it to the skillet.

5. Add the lemon juice and zest and let the whole mixture cook together for a few minutes until the sauce thickens a bit and the pasta absorbs some of the sauce.  Right at the end add a dash of champagne vinegar and cook for just a few seconds.

6. Serve in a bowl with a little more cheese sprinkled on top.


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Categories: Appliances, Foodie Products and Events, Pasta, Recipes


A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.


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One Comment on “Farfalle Pasta with Spinach and white beans”

  1. Deborah
    May 21, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    brings back memories…your version looks & sounds wonderful – I will have to try it!

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